Jan. 07, 2004

By Jesse Hiestand Hollywood Reporter

Two SAG members filed an amended complaint Tuesday accusing two companies of unfair business practices, breach of contract and other actions for allegedly defrauding SAG members who sought work as extras in film, television and commercial productions.

Plaintiffs Jonathan Adler and Jonathon Wright originally filed an abbreviated version of the case in October to preserve their claims in the face of certain statutes of limitation.

The amended complaint, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, details the alleged unfair practices by Central Casting, Extras! Management and various managers, employees and related companies.

The suit accuses the defendants of engaging in extortion by telling SAG members that it would be in their best interest to register with Extras! Management at $65 per month in order to obtain engagements by Central Casting.

Friends of family of the defendants allegedly received a disproportionately high number of SAG engagements, even those who were not SAG members. It was further alleged that bribes and kickbacks were sought from extras seeking employment.

“In many instances and over many years, in order to obtain frequent and ongoing engagements, the extra was solicited to and did provide thing of value such as cash, cars, televisions sets and other such valuable considerations to casting directors in order to obtain future and frequent engagements, ” the complaint said. Those extras who objected to these alleged practices or the $65 per month fee often were blackballed from further engagements, it said.

Officials at Extra! Management denied the claims.

” We absolutely take no kickbacks from anybody,” spokeswoman Cynthia Huffman said. “We are a service, so if you are not paying the fee, you’re not going to get booked. We’re an extras calling service—we’re completely legit, and we’re the best in town.”

Central Casting did not return calls for comment.

The suit seeks damages, lost earnings, injunctive relief and attorneys fees.

“Those practices have been going on in the industry for years, not necessarily with these defendants,” plaintiffs attorney Richard Stavin said. “Nobody with any oversight responsibility seems to be doing anything about the practices that exist in the industry.”

Hey what I don’t understand is why these two didn’t just go to SAG and tell them what was going on. Gosh, knowing how much CEO Bob hates lawsuits, if he had only known, I’m sure he would have taken care of the problemo.

SW Editor and Chief A.L. Miller WOOF !

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